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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 07 > ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

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Republish review

30-07-2014


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ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 motherboard: review and testing

Not so long ago we have introduced you to the new addition in the series of motherboard lineup ASUS TUF (The Ultimate Force), namely with the model ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 1, which made a very good impression due to a high degree of reliability and presence of protective "armor" in the package. As for the hero of this review, the motherboard ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2, then, despite a higher numerical index, it is the younger version of the model described before. At first glance according to the technical characteristics, the only simplification in relation to the older variant is the absence of a protective casing and plugs for the expansion slots in the package. But let's not jump to premature conclusions, and compare more detail the two models:

 

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 1

USB 3.0

internal/external

4/4

4/4

USB 2.0

internal/external

4/4

4/4

RAM

4 x DIMM

 up to 32 GB

 4 x DIMM

up to 32 GB

PCIe x16

3

x16

x8+x8

x8+x8+x4

3

x16

x8+x8

x8+x8+x4

PCIe x1

3

3

PCI

No

No

Video outputs

HDMI

DisplayPort

HDMI

DisplayPort

Audio outputs

5
Optical S/PDIF-out

5
Optical S/PDIF-out

SATA 6 Gb/s

6

8 

SATA Express

No

1 

eSATA

No

No

M.2 (NGFF)

No

No

Thunderbolt 

No

No

LAN

Intel WG1217V

 

Intel WG1217V

Realtek 8111GR 

Wi-Fi

No

No

Bluetooth

No

No

Power phases

8

8

Format

ATX

ATX

Average cost at the moment of reviewing, $

225 

325

As you can see, the novelty has lost not only the above-mentioned protective cover, but two ports SATA, interface SATA Express, as well as a network controller. At the same time the retail price of ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 was decreased. Now it is approximately $ 100 cheaper. And now let's move on to the review of new item.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 (rev 1.01)

Chipset

Intel Z97

SPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron of 4th and 5th generation: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 х PCI Express 2.0 x16

x16

x8+х8

x8+x8+x4

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z97 chipset supports:

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC1150

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

4 x system fan connector (4-pin)

2 x sockets for connection of additional fans (3-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the chipset

Aluminum radiators on power subsystem elements connected by nickel-plated heat pipe

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

1 х button USB BIOS Flashback

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 х TPM port

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS reset

1 х button MemOK!

1 х socket TB_HEADER

1 х socket DRCT

1 x group of sockets for thermal sensors connection

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

4 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form factor,

Dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

New product is packaged in a cardboard box, decorated in dark colors in printing. Looking at the front side first attention is given to the logo of series ASUS TUF (The Ultimate Force). Also her is indicated the model name and manufacturing company. In the bottom there is a set of logos that indicate about support technologies AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI, the operating system Windows 8.1, as well as the video output HDMI c to output images with resolution 4K Ultra HD.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

On the reverse side there are images of the motherboard, its interface panel, as well as the main characteristics. The top part has the key benefits of ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK:

  • ASUS Thermal Radar 2 - due to the large number of temperature sensors, as well as the presence of additional thermal sensors the user gets the most complete and accurate information about the current state of the system.
  • TUF Components – the circuitry of the motherboard corresponds to the highest quality standards. It is composed of solid capacitors TUF 10K Ti-Caps with increased by 5 times lifetime and 20% increase in the maximum allowable operating temperature, MOS transistor TUF MOSFET with low open channel resistance and improved chokes TUF New Alloy Chokes, which characterized by lower temperatures and higher reliability.
  • Server-Grade Reliability Test - motherboard has been tested by a series of tests, and fully meets the standards of reliability.
  • TUF ICe – for temperature monitoring and fan control is uses a special controller TUF, which allows to optimize system performance of PC cooling by pressing a button in a complete software.
  • TUF ESD Guards - almost every port on the interface board has a separate circuit for ESD protection.
  • DIGI + Power Control - accurate and reliable digital power system processor and memory is applied.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

The box with the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2, in addition to the usual CD with software, user guides and plug the interface board includes:

  • four SATA cables;
  • certificate of quality;
  • set ASUS Q-Connectors, which greatly facilitates the process of connecting the front panel of the PC housing;
  • bridge NVIDIA SLI.

Design and features of this board

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

The model ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 is presented as a black printed circuit board of size ATX (305 x 244 mm), which is matched with the color scheme of expansion slots and ports in camouflage colors. Additionally we note an elaborate arrangement of on-board elements and high usability of the system, for which the manufacturer has applied increasing DIMM-slots with latches on one side only, and parallel arranged of ports SATA 6 Gb/s.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Looking at the reverse side of the PCB, you can see the support plate of the CPU socket, mounting screws of cooling system, as well as a small base plate under the radiator on the power system components, which also plays the role of a low-profile heatsink.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: TPM port, front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF Out, three sockets of system fans, the group of sockets for supplied thermal sensors, leading-in TB_HEADER to realize Thunderbolt interface, socket DRCT (allows to connect additional button for BIOS run and place it on frontal part of case), as well as front panel leading-in socket. Also here are three USB leading-in sockets: two for USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0.  

Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: four are internal and four on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0, four internal and two external ports are operating due to chipset, while two additional external interfaces are realized by ASMedia ASM1042 controller.  

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by six SATA 6 GB/s ports. There is a support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. The operation of all interfaces is implemented by chipset Intel Z97.

As you can see, near the SATA-ports there is a second internal connector USB 3.0, although usually it is located closer to the main power connector.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Main board ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules DDR3, which are equipped with latches on one side only. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. To implement it the modules must be installed either in the first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies up to 1866 MHz in the nominal mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 32 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

Also here is MemOK! Button which allows automatically selects the required RAM parameters.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Cooling system of the product includes three aluminum radiators: one for heat removal from chipset Intel Z97 while two others (connected by nickel heat pipe) cover elements of power subsystem.  In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 37°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 39.2°C.

As you can see, the installed cooling system copes with its task, providing quite comfortable temperature readings.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Processor power supply is performed via 8-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1252 with integrated DIGI+VRM power consumption subsystem control.

All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid capacitors TUF 10K Ti-Caps with 5 time improved life time and improved on 20% maximum permissible temperature, MOS transistor TUF MOSFET with low resistance level of open channel and improved chokes TUF New Alloy Chokes with low temperature and increased reliability. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.    

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

To extend motherboard functionality the user has 6 slots:  

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16 or х8);
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8);
  5. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  6. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х4).

Two of the three slots for installation of graphics cards are connected to the CPU and share all available 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, while the third uses only four chipset PCI Express 2.0 lines. But in this case it shares them with two ports USB 3.0 on interface panel, so its carrying capacity is limited by two 2 lines only. As a result, the novelty can be recommend for use in gaming systems with a maximum of two graphics cards and the distribution lines according scheme x8 + x8. Additionally we note that even if you install two graphics cards with three slot cooling system you will still have access to one connector PCI Express x1.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

If you decided to take advantage of the integrated on the CPU graphics core then you have two video outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort, switching is carried out by chip ASMedia ASM 1442K.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT6791D chip.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

In turn, the monitoring function is implemented by a separate microprocessor ASUS TUF, which is responsible for precise monitoring of temperature and fan rotation speed and also provides increased accuracy of the data measured by the complete and pre-installed sensors.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Two USB 3.0 connectors on the interface panel operate due to chip ASMedia ASM1042.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

To support network connections there is one GB LAN-controller Intel WGI218V. And for software control of network resources you can use the utility Turbo LAN.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound Realtek ALC1150 that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems. It can to play audio with signal/noise ratio at the level of 112 dB and provides a sound recording with ratio signal/noise 104 dB. Sound system boasts by the ability to play lossless-audio with sampling frequency of 192 kHz and resolution of 24-bit, and the presence of the port S/PDIF out on the interface panel. To achieve all of these indicators is possible through the use of design ASUS TUF Audio Design, which involves the support of high-quality components and physical shielding of audio subsystem on the PCB of the motherboard.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Interface panel of ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 х optical S/PDIF out;
  • 1 х button USB BIOS Flashback;
  • 5 x audio jacks.

This layout of interface panel can be called as excellent because it includes two video outputs, a large number of USB ports, convenient connection of multichannel acoustic and optical audio outputs and one network port. Also here is a support of image displaying on screen with resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD), as well as convenient update of BIOS from a USB flash drive using the corresponding button.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 has enough opportunities for the organization of cooling system inside the case. There are eight fan connectors, two of which are used for cooling the CPU (4-pin), the other four for system fans (4-pin) and two for additional packaged fans (3-pin).

UEFI BIOS

Motherboard ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 uses modern preloader based on graphics interface UEFI. The adjustments can be done via mouse. It offers two main scenarios.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

EZ Mode where all the necessary settings are grouped on one screen, and overclocking is carried out using the EZ Tuning Wizard.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Or used Advanced Mode where all settings should be done manually.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

All overclocking settings can be found in “Ai Tweaker” section.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-3400MHz.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

If necessary you can get the access to memory delay adjustments.

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

To increase the stability during overclocking process you can use the setting of DIGI+VRM digital subsystem control.

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Menu name

Range

Pitch

Menu name

System bus frequency

Initial BCLK Frequency

80,0 – 300,0

0,1

 

CPU Strap

100, 125, 167, 250

 

RAM frequency

Memory Frequency

800 - 3400

 

RAM timing

DRAM Timing

CAS Latency, RAS to CAS, RAS PRE Time, RAS ACT Time, DRAM COMMAND Mode, RAS to RAS Delay, REF Cycle Time, Write Recovery Time, READ to PRE Time, FOUR ACT WIN Time, WRITE to READ Delay, Write Latency

 

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

 

Max CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

Frequency of PWM-controller of CPU power converter

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

250 – 500

50

 

Long Duration Package Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

Package Power Time Window

1 - 127

1

 

Short Duration Package Power Limit

1 - 4096

1

 

CPU Integrated VR Current Limit

0,125 – 1023,875

0,125

 

Power Current Slope

Auto, Level -4 – Level 4

 

 

Power Current Offset

Auto, -100% - 100%

12,5 %

 

Power Fast Ramp Response

0,00 – 1,50

0,001

 

Power Saving Level 1 Threshold

0 – 80

1

 

Power Saving Level 2 Threshold

0 – 50

1

 

Power Saving Level 3 Threshold

0 – 30

1

 

CPU Core Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

 

0,001

 

CPU Cache Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

0,001

 

CPU System Agent Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

 

CPU Analog I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

 

CPU Digital I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU input voltage

CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,700

0,010

RAM profiles voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,20000 – 1,92000

0,00500

Chipset voltage

PCH Core Voltage

0,70000 – 1,10000

0,01250

 

PCH VLX Voltage

1,20000 – 2,00000

0,01250

 

VTTDDR Voltage

0,60000 – 1,00000

0,01250

 

DRAM CTRL REF Voltage

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHA

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHB

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

Clock Crossing VBoot

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

 

Clock Crossing Reset Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

 

Clock Crossing Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2

“Monitor” section provides the access to information about CPU and chipset temperature as well as rotation speed of installed fans. Additionally in this section you can check the voltage on CPU cores and power lines +12V, +5V and +3,3V. Also it is possible to take screenshots.  


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